Throughout my teens, I had always been interested in bad boys. When I turned 20, I met the ultimate bad boy whom I will refer to as “Peter”. At that time, I was living in a beautiful luxury condo in Toronto’s Harbourfront neighbourhood and going to college downtown. Little did I know that despite living in privileged circumstances, my life was completely unstable.
Flashback to second semester in college in 2013. On average I walked about 6 kilometers per day, worked out for an hour per day, took a pole dancing class once or twice a day, drank at least 4 sugar free Red Bulls a day and only ate 600-1000 calories. Plus, I was experiencing undiagnosed mania. I was weight-loss obsessed, and I decided to take Nutrition as an elective in my studies. That’s where I had met Peter.
Peter had the most beautiful body. But he was just as obsessed with his body as I was mine. He practiced Muay Thai and ate the same things every day to give himself more muscle…and he loved cocaine…among other drugs. After getting to know him better through a group project, he invited me to a party at his friend’s penthouse. When I arrived, I was the only female party guest. Then came the booze. I’d only had one or two drinks when Peter invited me up to the second floor of the Penthouse. Inside this room which oddly enough had paintings of the Virgin Mary inside of them he took my hand. Then he took some cocaine and put it inside my hand offering it to me. I had never done drugs in my life. I had never had family use drugs. I had been completely sheltered from this lifestyle. As much as I had been attracted to him, I declined. He got completely stoned with coke throughout the night. We made out once that same night but later as he was high, he tried to rape me. His friend helped me fight him off. The following morning as he sobered up, he forgot a lot of that night.
He texted me the day after the party to see if he had tried to had sex with me, while mentioning that he had a girlfriend. For some messed up reason I still wanted to be his girlfriend. I texted him after that and had hoped that he would text back. I would anxiously await his texts.
I knew I would have to see him at school. Though he had dropped out of school without me knowing. This is when psychosis set in. I posted weird posts about pole dancing and seduction to Facebook and YouTube hoping that he’d see it and we’d have a line of communication again. Every day as I walked to school, I had ticket scalpers hitting on me just outside of the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. I told them that I had had a boyfriend (I actually thought he was my boyfriend). Then I messaged him over Facebook saying that and he let his girlfriend send me rude messages which made everything worse. A random person messaged me on YouTube, and I thought the messages were him. This person tricked me into having cybersex with them while I was in that state of mind. Psychosis had exaggerated everything I was experiencing physically, emotionally, sexually, spiritually and virtually.
My delusions got more and more intense. I was convinced that Peter had been a porn star, was Hugh Hefner’s grandson and owned a porn company based out of Montana (why Montana I still have no idea to this day). I even went out of my condo at 2AM in downtown Toronto to try and look for Peter. I believed that he would bring me to both fame and paradise. Then delusions of paparazzi chasing me came. My parents were in another city and did not see my delusional Facebook posts I had been creating. Eventually in my quest to find him, I had attempted to hijack a shuttle bus. The police were called. Fortunately, the cops took me to the mental hospital rather than to jail.
Lots of things took place inside the psych ward that I could probably write a whole book about. I was prescribed Risperidone at first and I had had no idea as to why the nurses were giving me these pills. I did not want to take them because I thought they were street drugs. Eventually one of the nurses forced them down my throat with 2 security guards. It wasn’t until I saw my own patient file that I recognized myself as ill.
After being discharged from the hospital, I moved back to my hometown and was forced to drop out of college. I had had nothing to do all day, school had given me a sense of purpose and things to do. Fortunately, I got a lot of help from a first-episode psychosis program run by the hospital in my hometown. I felt so much depression and suffered so many side effects from the 6 medications I had been on.
I was determined to feel better. Every peer activity group that the program offered, I attended. I made and kept friends who both did and did not have mental illness. I found it was very helpful to talk to people whom I could relate to when I was in early recovery. As my recovery progressed, it was good to talk to anyone who helped me in social situations, including the professional field when I went to apply for jobs.
I took all my meds as prescribed. I have had some people tell me I don’t need medication, but I personally think I do (even though it comes at a tough price). Side effects I have experienced from my meds include muscle stiffness, weight gain, feeling foggy, tired, feeling restless, blurred vision, hand tremors, dry skin and more…but what I learned about medication is that the doctors weren’t going to know which ones worked for my body chemistry right away. I had to be extremely honest and open with them for them to tweak my medication to get the right combination and dose. Because I was consistent with meds, they were able to reduce my doses over time. I used to be on 6 medications at once, but luckily after 8 years into recovery, I only take 1 medication now.
Getting the right Psychiatrists was important for me. There are bad Psychiatrists out there. I suggest if a Psychiatrist is needed, the person does their research and looks for one they like.
Doing volunteer work helped me. To make myself feel better over what had happened with the whole Peter situation, I made and donated 40 care packages to my local men’s rehab facility. One for each resident there. It felt good. It helped heal my anger. I wanted to help men who were in the same boat as Peter, improve their quality of life. When I volunteered and helped others, it got me out of my own head and problems. It helped me focus my energy on helping someone else.
Other than that, keeping my life rich with interests and hobbies has helped. So has time.
If you are struggling, keep looking to find something that works for you. It’s good to be open to new ideas because you never know if a piece of good advice will work until you try it.